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The Future Of Shareholder Democracy, Lisa Fairfax Oct 2009

The Future Of Shareholder Democracy, Lisa Fairfax

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This Article seeks to ascertain the impact of the Securities and Exchange Commission's rejection in 2007 of a proxy access rule, a rule that would have required corporations to include shareholder-nominated candidates on the ballot. On the one hand, the SEC's rejection appears to be a stunning blow to the shareholders' rights campaign because many shareholders' rights advocates have long considered access to the corporate ballot as the "holy grail" of their campaign for increased shareholder power. On the other hand, some corporate experts maintain that characterizing proxy access as the indispensable ingredient for sufficient shareholder influence fails to appreciate …


Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2009

Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr.

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As the recent economic crisis has unfolded, bankruptcy has offered possible solutions at several key junctures. The first of these solutions, often referred to as mortgage modification, was geared toward homeowners who faced the loss of their homes in the months—now several years—since the start of the subprime crisis On the corporate side, Chapter 11 was an obvious alternative when large nonbank financial institutions like Bear Stearns and AIG stumbled in 2008. But regulators repeatedly balked, and the one exception to the avoidance of bankruptcy at all costs—Lehman Brothers—was anomalous. This aversion to bankruptcy, which seems to pervade all sides …


Nonrivalry And Price Discrimination In Copyright Economics, John P. Conley, Christopher S. Yoo May 2009

Nonrivalry And Price Discrimination In Copyright Economics, John P. Conley, Christopher S. Yoo

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The literature on the economics of copyright proceeds from the premise that copyrightable works constitute pure public goods, which is generally modeled by assuming that such works are nonexcludable and that the marginal cost of making additional copies is essentially zero. A close examination of the foundational literature on public goods theory reveals that the defining characteristic of public goods is instead the optimality criterion known as the “Samuelson condition,” which implies that the systematic bias toward underproduction is the result of the inability to induce consumers to reveal their preferences rather than the inability to exclude or price at …


Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas Apr 2009

Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas

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No government official has as much unreviewable power or discretion as the prosecutor. Few regulations bind or even guide prosecutorial discretion, and fewer still work well. Most commentators favor more external regulation by legislatures, judges, or bar authorities. Neither across-the-board legislation nor ex post review of individual cases has proven to be effective, however. Drawing on management literature, this article reframes the issue as a principal-agent problem and suggests corporate strategies for better serving the relevant stakeholders. Fear of voters could better check prosecutors, as could victim participation in individual cases. Scholars have largely neglected the most promising avenue of …


The Relation Between Regulation And Class Actions: Evidence From The Insurance Industry, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Mar 2009

The Relation Between Regulation And Class Actions: Evidence From The Insurance Industry, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

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Standard law and economics models imply that regulation and litigation serve as substitutes. We test this by looking at the incidence of insurance class actions as a function of measures of regulatory enforcement. We also look specifically at whether states with clear regulatory standards regarding the use of OEM parts experience less litigation over this issue. We find no evidence of substitution between regulation and litigation. We also examine the possibility that litigation is more frequent in states where regulators are more likely to be captured by industry interests, finding no support for this hypothesis either. Instead, litigation is more …


The Myth Of Equality In The Employment Relation, Aditi Bagchi Mar 2009

The Myth Of Equality In The Employment Relation, Aditi Bagchi

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Although it is widely understood that employers and employees are not equally situated, we fail adequately to account for this inequality in the law governing their relationship. We can best understand this inequality in terms of status, which encompasses one’s level of income, leisure and discretion. For a variety of misguided reasons, contract law has been historically highly resistant to the introduction of status-based principles. Courts have preferred to characterize the unfavorable circumstances that many employees face as the product of unequal bargaining power. But bargaining power disparity does not capture the moral problem raised by inequality in the employment …


Originality, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein Mar 2009

Originality, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

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In this Essay we introduce a model of copyright law that calibrates authors’ rights and liabilities to the level of originality in their works. We advocate this model as a substitute for the extant regime that unjustly and inefficiently grants equal protection to all works satisfying the “modicum of creativity” standard. Under our model, highly original works will receive enhanced protection and their authors will also be sheltered from suits by owners of preexisting works. Conversely, authors of less original works will receive diminished protection and incur greater exposure to copyright liability. We operationalize this proposal by designing separate rules …


Bankruptcy Or Bailouts?, Kenneth M. Ayotte, David A. Skeel Jr. Mar 2009

Bankruptcy Or Bailouts?, Kenneth M. Ayotte, David A. Skeel Jr.

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The usual reaction if one mentions bankruptcy as a mechanism for addressing a financial institution’s default is incredulity. Those who favor the rescue of troubled financial institutions, and even those who prefer that their assets be promptly sold to a healthier institution, treat bankruptcy as anathema. Everyone seems to agree that nothing good can come from bankruptcy. Indeed, the Chapter 11 filing by Lehman Brothers has been singled out by many the primary cause of the severe economic and financial contraction that followed, and proof that bankruptcy is disorderly and ineffective. As a result, ad-hoc rescue lending to avoid bankruptcy …


Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas Feb 2009

Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas

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Prosecutorial discretion is a problem that most scholars attack from the outside. Most scholars favor external institutional solutions, such as ex ante legislation or ex post judicial and bar review of individual cases of misconduct. At best these approaches can catch the very worst misconduct. They lack inside information and sustained oversight and cannot generate and enforce fine-grained rules to guide prosecutorial decisionmaking. The more promising alternative is to work within prosecutors' offices, to create incentives for good performance. This symposium essay explores a neglected toolbox that head prosecutors can use to influence line prosecutors: compensation and other rewards. Rewards …


The Effects Of Tort Reform On Medical Malpractice Insurers’ Ultimate Losses, Patricia Born, W. Kip Viscusi, Tom Baker Jan 2009

The Effects Of Tort Reform On Medical Malpractice Insurers’ Ultimate Losses, Patricia Born, W. Kip Viscusi, Tom Baker

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Whereas the literature evaluating the effect of tort reforms has focused on reported incurred losses, this paper examines the long run effects using a comprehensive sample by state of individual firms writing medical malpractice insurance from 1984-2003. The long run effects of reforms are greater than insurers' expected effects, as five year developed losses and ten year developed losses are below the initially reported incurred losses for those years following reform measures. The quantile regressions show the greatest effects of joint and several liability limits, noneconomic damages caps, and punitive damages reforms for the firms that are at the high …


Treatment Differences And Political Realities In The Gaap-Ifrs Debate, William W. Bratton, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2009

Treatment Differences And Political Realities In The Gaap-Ifrs Debate, William W. Bratton, Lawrence A. Cunningham

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No abstract provided.


Cause For Concern: Causation And Federal Securities Fraud, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2009

Cause For Concern: Causation And Federal Securities Fraud, Jill E. Fisch

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The Supreme Court’s decision in Dura Pharmaceuticals dramatically changed federal securities fraud litigation. The Dura decision itself said little, but counseled lower courts to fashion new requirements of causation and harm modeled upon common law tort principles. These instructions have led lower courts to craft a series of confusing and inconsistent decisions that incorporate little of the reasoning upon which the common law principles are based. This Article accepts the Dura challenge and examines both common law causation principles and their applicability to federal securities fraud. In so doing, the Article identifies the failure of the federal courts properly to …


Hedge Fund Activism In The Enforcement Of Bondholder Rights, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock Jan 2009

Hedge Fund Activism In The Enforcement Of Bondholder Rights, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

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Activist hedge funds have transformed how bondholders respond to violations of their contractual rights. Insurance companies and mutual funds, the traditional investors in bonds, often slept on their rights and turned active only little and late. Hedge funds, by contrast, seek out opportunities for activism in order to make profits. In the wake of their activism, hedge funds have not only benefitted themselves, but their fellow bondholders as well. Alas, the remedy scheme for violations of bondholders rights – in particular, the centrality of the acceleration remedy – introduces its own set of imperfections. When treasury interest rates have increased …


Confronting The Circularity Problem In Private Securities Litigation, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2009

Confronting The Circularity Problem In Private Securities Litigation, Jill E. Fisch

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Many critics argue that private securities litigation fails effectively either to deter corporate misconduct or to compensate defrauded investors. In particular, commentators reason that damages reflect socially inefficient transfer payments—the so-called circularity problem. Fox and Mitchell address the circularity problem by identifying new reasons why private litigation is an effective deterrent, focusing on the role of disclosure in improving corporate governance. The corporate governance rationale for securities regulation is more powerful than the authors recognize. By collecting and using corporate information in their trading decisions, informed investors play a critical role in enhancing market efficiency. This efficiency, in turn, allows …


Strengthening Special Committees, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2009

Strengthening Special Committees, Elizabeth Pollman

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Special committees make some of the most important decisions facing corporations. High-quality decision-making on these critical issues has become even more urgent in this time of economic volatility and outrage about corporate irresponsibility. Indeed, special committees may be increasingly in the spotlight as the current economic crisis will likely lead to a flood of shareholder litigation and, when credit markets thaw, a wave of strategic transactions. Sometimes a board will create a special committee of just one person to handle a crucial matter. This Article proposes that courts or legislatures firmly establish a preference or requirement that special committees consist …


How To Prevent Hard Cases From Making Bad Law: Bear Stearns, Delaware And The Strategic Use Of Comity, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock Jan 2009

How To Prevent Hard Cases From Making Bad Law: Bear Stearns, Delaware And The Strategic Use Of Comity, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

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The Bear Stearns/JP Morgan Chase merger placed Delaware between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the deal’s unprecedented deal protection measures – especially the 39.5% share exchange agreement – were probably invalid under current Delaware doctrine because they rendered the Bear Stearns shareholders’ approval rights entirely illusory. On the other hand, if a Delaware court were to enjoin a deal pushed by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury and arguably necessary to prevent a collapse of the international financial system, it would invite just the sort of federal intervention that would undermine Delaware’s role as the …


Taxation And The Competitiveness Of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Do Taxes Encourage Sovereign Wealth Funds To Invest In The United States?, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2009

Taxation And The Competitiveness Of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Do Taxes Encourage Sovereign Wealth Funds To Invest In The United States?, Michael S. Knoll

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Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) control vast amounts of capital and have made and are continuing to make numerous large, high-profile investments in the United States, especially in the financial services industry. Those investments in particular and SWFs in general are highly controversial. There is much discussion of the advantages and disadvantages to the United States of investments by SWFs and there is an intense and ongoing debate over what should be the United States’ policy towards investments by SWFs. In the course of that debate, some critics have called upon the US government to abandon its long-held public position of …


Top Cop Or Regulatory Flop? The Sec At 75, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2009

Top Cop Or Regulatory Flop? The Sec At 75, Jill E. Fisch

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In their forthcoming article, Redesigning the SEC: Does the Treasury Have a Better Idea?, Professors John C. Coffee, Jr., and Hillary Sale offer compelling reasons to rethink the SEC’s role. This article extends that analysis, evaluating the SEC’s responsibility for the current financial crisis and its potential future role in regulation of the capital markets. In particular, the article identifies critical failures in the SEC’s performance in its core competencies of enforcement, financial transparency, and investor protection. The article argues that these failures are not the result, as suggested by the Treasury Department Blueprint, of a balkanized regulatory system. Rather, …


Did Trips Spur Innovation? An Empirical Analysis Of Patent Duration And Incentives To Innovate, David S. Abrams Jan 2009

Did Trips Spur Innovation? An Empirical Analysis Of Patent Duration And Incentives To Innovate, David S. Abrams

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How to structure IP laws in order to maximize social welfare by striking the right balance between incentives to innovate and access to innovation is an empirical question. It is a challenging one to answer, both because innovation is difficult to value and changes in IP protection are rare. The 1995 TRIPS agreement provides a unique opportunity to learn about this question for two reasons. First, the adoption of the agreement was uncertain until shortly before adoption, making it a plausibly exogenous change to patent duration. Second, the nature of the law change meant that the patent duration change was …


Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr.

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For the past several decades, Congress has steadily expanded the exclusion of securities market operations from core bankruptcy protections. This Article focuses on three of the most important of these issues: the exclusion of brokerage firms from Chapter 11; the protection of settlement payments from avoidance as preferences or fraudulent conveyances; and the exemption of derivatives from the automatic stay and other basic bankruptcy provisions. In Parts I, II and III of the Article, I consider each of the issues in turn, showing that each has had serious unintended consequences. Both Drexel Burnham and Lehman Brothers evaded the brokerage exclusion, …


Passive Discrimination: When Does It Make Sense To Pay Too Little?, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick, Lesley Wexler Jan 2009

Passive Discrimination: When Does It Make Sense To Pay Too Little?, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick, Lesley Wexler

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Economists have long recognized employers’ ability to construct benefits packages to induce workers to sort themselves into and out of jobs. For instance, to encourage applications from individuals with a highly valued but largely unobservable characteristic, such as patience, employers might offer benefits that patient individuals are likely to value more than other individuals. By offering a compensation package with highly valued benefits but a relatively low wage, employers will attract workers with the favored characteristic and discourage other individuals from applying for or accepting the job. While economic theory generally views this kind of self-selection in value neutral terms, …


Federalism, Variation, And State Regulation Of Franchise Termination, Jonathan Klick, Bruce Kobayashi, Larry Ribstein Jan 2009

Federalism, Variation, And State Regulation Of Franchise Termination, Jonathan Klick, Bruce Kobayashi, Larry Ribstein

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This article discusses and expands on our recent work examining the effects of franchise-termination laws. In a prior article, we examined empirically the effect of franchise-termination laws on the level of franchise activity. Our analysis improved upon the prior literature in two major ways. First, our work exploited two new sources of panel data to provide new empirical evidence on the effect of franchise termination laws. Second, our analysis examined variation in states’ restrictions on the ability of franchisors and franchisees to contract around a particular state’s regulation. We found that the effects of termination laws on the overall level …


The General Counsel Of A Nonprofit Enterprise: Some Questions, Edward B. Rock Jan 2009

The General Counsel Of A Nonprofit Enterprise: Some Questions, Edward B. Rock

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No abstract provided.


Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr.

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When a company like Chrysler or United Airlines files for bankruptcy, it offers narrative explaining the way out of its predicament. In support of its claim that the business is worth saving, the company may argue that it simply needs time to renegotiate its obligations with its creditors. Alternatively, it may say that asset values are deteriorating rapidly and it is imperative that the bankruptcy court immediately approve a sale of the company, or some other rapid disposition. These two possibilities correspond to the principal resolution narratives in current Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice, which I refer to as Debtor in …


Consumer Protection In An Era Of Globalization, Cary Coglianese, Adam M. Finkel, David T. Zaring Jan 2009

Consumer Protection In An Era Of Globalization, Cary Coglianese, Adam M. Finkel, David T. Zaring

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With expanding global trade, the challenge of protecting consumers from unsafe food, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products has grown increasingly salient, necessitating the development of new policy ideas and analysis. This chapter introduces the book, Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy, a multidisciplinary project analyzing import safety problems and an array of innovative solutions to these problems. The challenge of protecting the public from unsafe imports arises from the sheer volume of global trade as well as the complexity of products being traded and the vast number of inputs each product contains. It is further compounded by the …


Understanding Patent-Quality Mechanisms, R. Polk Wagner Jan 2009

Understanding Patent-Quality Mechanisms, R. Polk Wagner

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No abstract provided.


Legal And Managerial "Cultures" In Corporate Representation, Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr. Jan 2009

Legal And Managerial "Cultures" In Corporate Representation, Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr.

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No abstract provided.


Unentrapped, William W. Bratton Jan 2009

Unentrapped, William W. Bratton

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No abstract provided.


Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2009

Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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"Separation of ownership and control" is a phrase whose history will forever be associated with Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means' The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), as well as with Institutionalist economics, Legal Realism, and the New Deal. Within that milieu the large publicly held business corporation became identified with excessive managerial power at the expense of stockholders, social irresponsibility, and internal inefficiency. Neoclassical economists both then and ever since have generally been critical, both of the historical facts that Berle and Means purported to describe and of the conclusions that they drew. In fact, however, within …


Samuel Zell, The Chicago Tribune, And The Emergence Of The S Esop: Understanding The Tax Advantages And Disadvantages Of S Esops, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2009

Samuel Zell, The Chicago Tribune, And The Emergence Of The S Esop: Understanding The Tax Advantages And Disadvantages Of S Esops, Michael S. Knoll

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Samuel Zell’s acquisition of the Chicago Tribune Company (the Tribune) in December 2007 using a little-known type of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) made headlines. In a complicated transaction, which took nearly a year to complete, the Tribune converted from a subchapter C corporation to a subchapter S corporation, established an ESOP that purchased 100 percent of the company’s equity, and sold Zell a call option giving him the right to purchase 40 percent of the company’s equity. Press reports claim that Zell’s novel structure enabled Zell to outbid other suitors. And financial commentators predict that many acquirers will employ …